The holiday season is in full swing. Sadly, death never takes a holiday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there will be 1,253 motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Roughly one-third of the fatalities will be alcohol-related.
Alcohol-impaired drivers are not a new phenomenon. In 1959, the General Board of Temperance of the Methodist Church produced an animated PSA about safe driving called “Stop Driving Us Crazy.” The soundtrack was scored by Philadelphia native and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Benny Golson, and music played by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
Like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh once had a robust jazz scene with legendary venues, including the Granada Theater and the Crawford Grill.
Pittsburgh produced jazz greats such as Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, George Benson, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Eckstine and Kenny Clarke.
Thanks to a new documentary, “We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Story Never Told,” the world will know what Pittsburgh had.
The one-hour documentary includes live performance clips of the Jazz Masters, interviews and archival photographs. As important, the filmmakers contextualize Pittsburgh’s jazz culture by exploring social conditions and historical events.
“We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Story Never Told” will air in February. For more information and air dates, visit their website.